Pretzel Bread Dough
22g fresh yeast or 2 ¼ tsp dry yeast
250mL warm water ~40°C
30g brown sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
56g butter melted
1 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
Baking Soda Bath
½ cup baking soda
Combine yeast, water, and brown sugar in a bowl. Let it stand for 5 minutes until foamy.
While yeast is proofing, melt butter, then mix in milk and set aside.
Once yeast is proofed, add milk/butter to yeast mixture and mix until just combined.
Add salt and flour and mix until flour is fully incorporated.
Knead until the dough forms a slightly tacky, but firm ball, you may need to add a little more flour 1 tablespoon at a time, but be careful, you want your dough a little tacky but not too sticky to handle.
Oil a large bowl, place the dough ball in the bowl, and cover with a damp towel in a warm place to let rise for one hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 200°C
Bring 3.8L of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, slowly add the baking soda a little bit at a time (Be careful not to add too much at once or you will have a baking soda/water explosion)!
Remove the dough from the bowl and gently press out the air bubbles.
Make two balls of dough the same size (NOTE: The total weight of the dough comes out to be about 800 g, so each loaf should weigh about 400 g), forming them into the shape you want (Do not let it rise at all here! Straight from forming the ball into the water).
Drop one of the balls into the boiling baking soda water. Boil for 60-90 seconds on each side, turning it once to guarantee both sides covered. Drain the excess water from the dough and place it on an oiled baking sheet.
Immediately sprinkle coarse sea salt over the bread to your specific tastes, and use a knife to cut a small "X" on the top of the bread.
Repeat with second ball of dough. (Do not let it rise at all here! Straight from boiling into the oven).
Bake the bread for 22-25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool just enough to enjoy! Ideally these should be eaten the day they are baked. They freeze well.
James: I baked these in dutch ovens, and they came out really well. Next time I would make these into rolls, or brötchen.